Tuesday, May 23, 2017

In the last few years I have been taken with the photography of Matej Peljihan – in particular, his most recent collection, which he has titled “Le Petit Prince.” This is, of course, the title of the famous French book, The Little Prince, written by Antoine de Saint-Exupery. This is the story of a pilot and a young boy; both extremely creative. It includes some incredible commentary on life, relationships, and the imagination.

The photographer’s collection is photos of a 12-year-old Luke in different scenes he has created from his imagination – much like The Little Prince. The difference in these photos is that the boy has muscular dystrophy. Luke’s condition restricts his movement to small hand gestures. He cannot bathe, dress, or feed himself.

Luke has a wonderfully active imagination and spends a great deal of his day drawing images that he creates in his mind. The images that he draws imagine his life if he was not bound by this wheelchair. This include swimming in the deep ocean, playing basketball, listening to music like a normal teenager, and skateboarding. These are his dreams, even though he is well aware that his life will end sooner than later, and most of these dreams will never become reality.

And then he met Matej Peljihan, the photographer.

Matej Peljihan met the young man and saw some of his drawings of life beyond the wheelchair. Peljihan felt a strong pull to somehow make these drawings as true as he could make them. This required his imagination, a large white sheet, and changing his perspective. Each scene was created by laying Luke on the sheet, placing the appropriate props around him, and then the photographer shot the images from an aerial view.

The photographs are incredible. They are this beautiful juxtaposition of imagination, creativity, dreams, and someone who was willing to try and make another person’s dreams a reality – or, as close as they could be to a reality. The photographs can be viewed online by simply searching the photographers name and the photography collection, Matej Peljihan and “Le Petit Prince.” Give yourself some time to look at the images and to be deeply moved.

To me, this is such an incredible image of the incarnation and our calling as the church: to take this much bigger, dream the dream of God, and to make this a reality – or as close to a reality as we can here on our earth.

This means being a little bit more like this incredible young man, Luke, who had the ability to see his life beyond the limits of a wheelchair. For us, this involves dreaming and imagining together, and not being limited by the reality that we see around us.

This means being a little more like the photographer Matej, who was willing to think of taking the photographs from above the scene – to literally change his perspective to make this reality come true.  For us, this would involve conversations about how we can help make God’s world a reality and what we have to change to do so.

It’s not an easy calling, but no one ever said it was (okay, some pastors have tried to sell that idea, but their ministry did not last long).

It’s our calling: to see the world God has imagined for us, and then to make it a reality.

And I have a feeling that in that world, when we finally get there, Luke is not going to be bound by his wheelchair anymore.

May we be so brave to imagine, to create, and to make God’s dream a reality here.

Grace and peace,



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